A-Rod pins future with Yankees on fans

Updated: March 14, 2007, 10:57 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

TAMPA, Fla. -- Alex Rodriguez tried to leave no doubt: He wants to finish his career with the New York Yankees.

Say What?
"You're asking me what my sincere feeling is. I want to 100 percent stay in New York. Period. That's it. I don't know how many ways I can say it."
-- Alex Rodriguez, on WFAN-AM's "Mike and the Mad Dog."

"Either New York is going to kick me out of New York this year, say 'I've had enough of this guy, get him the hell out of here,' and we have an option. Or New York is going to say, 'Hey, we won a world championship, you had a big year, you were a part of it and we want you back.'"
-- Alex Rodriguez, in the same interview.

Then he left it all up to the fans.

"It's a do or die situation," he said on WFAN-AM's "Mike and the Mad Dog" show. "Either New York is going to kick me out of New York this year, say 'I've had enough of this guy, get him the hell out of here,' and we have an option. Or New York is going to say, 'Hey, we won a world championship, you had a big year, you were a part of it and we want you back.'"

Later, Rodriguez said the rapid-fire nature of the interview -- he described it as "an absolute dogfight for 15 minutes" -- led to those comments.

"You're asking me what my sincere feeling is. I want to 100 percent stay in New York. Period. That's it. I don't know how many ways I can say it," he said on the show.

Rodriguez told hosts Mike Francessa and Chris Russo that in his MVP year of 2005, the fans at Yankee Stadium were incredibly supportive.

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 Buster Olney
Regardless of his relationship with the team, A-Rod has full control of what he wants to do with his contract after this season, ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney said on ESPN Radio's Mike and Mike in the Morning.
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"In 2005, riding the wave of the fans was an unbelievable experience," he said, according to the New York Daily News. "Sometimes, you come out a little tired, but the fans get behind you, chanting 'MVP!' and before you know it, you have two home runs and five RBIs."

That wasn't the same in 2006, when he was booed at Yankee Stadium and by his own admission, tried to do too much to turn the boos into cheers.

"When you try to fight that wave of the fans being negative, expecting you to do things and you're playing pretty lousy on top of it," Rodriguez told Mike and the Mad Dog, "then you try to do a little more than you have to."

The two-time MVP is entering the seventh season of his $252 million, 10-year contract, a deal he signed with the Texas Rangers. He can opt out of the agreement after the season, forfeit the $72 million owed in the final three years and become a free agent.

"The next time we're going to talk about this is hopefully in very late October," Rodriguez said. "I want to be here. I want to stay here."

Asked before Wednesday's game against Minnestoa about the questions involving A-Rod, Yankees manager Joe Torre said: "I'm sure he's going to be asked on a daily basis about what's going to happen at the end. I know it's not going to be easy for him to say I'm not thinking about it."

Torre, who said he hasn't spoken with Rodriguez about the opt-out clause, also said "I hope he doesn't add that to everything he has to deal with at this point in time. It's tough enough playing this game without looking for the finish line to soon."

Torre added: "The fans are a pretty good indication on a daily basis on how they feel about you. But again, they're here to enjoy themselves. They're not here to necessarily make you feel good about yourself."

Rodriguez told WFAN there were probably five or six teams interested in acquiring him this offseason, but he had no interest.

"You never want to feel that you're holding a team hostage," Rodriguez said. "I want to be in New York. This is the place I want to finish my career. That's it.

"We had options and we all know that, but I want to be in New York. That's it."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.